WellsBuilt Museum of African American History
511 West South Street, Orlando 32801
Admission:Adults $5, students and seniors (60+) $3, children (4 to 14) $2
Hours: Monday to Friday 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Just west of I-4 near Church Street
Dr. William M. Wells was a prominent African-American physician in Orlando during the first half of the 20th century. He created the South Street Casino to host touring black bands and, since Orlando was rigorously segregated, he opened the Wells’Built Hotel next door to house the musicians. Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Ray Charles, Cab Calloway, Ivory Joe Hunter, and many other musical greats played the Casino and stayed at the hotel over the years. White Orlando didn’t know what it was missing.
The Casino is gone now, but the hotel remains. It has been converted into a modest museum housing memorabilia of Orlando’s African-American community and displays on the Civil Rights movement in Orlando, along with some African art on loan from local collectors.
Dr. Well’s home has been moved to the site of the Casino. It is being restored and will open to the public sometime in 2007.
Nearby: Orange County History Center, Orlando City Hall Galleries.
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